, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

September 23, 2013

Festival fans scoff at rain

GROVES — Rain boots were the fashion choice of the day for many wandering the grounds of Lion’s Park in Groves during the Texas Pecan Festival on Saturday.

Kari Plessala was sporting a brand new pair as she and her daughter, Preslee, 3, and aunt Sandy Lagrone walked among the children’s carnival rides.

“We’re dedicated Pecan Fest people. We do this every year,” Plessala said, adding that she went out and bought a pair of rubber boots that morning just so she could attend the festival. “We’re having a blast and this is actually perfect weather, it’s not packed and it’s not raining.”

Michelle Landry, who operates T-Boy Landry’s Pistolettes booth along with her husband, chose to wear flip-flops — for a while, at least. By around 2 p.m. she was waiting for her sister to bring her zebra striped rain boots from home.

A record 3.49 inches of rain fell overnight into the wee hours of Saturday with more rain throughout the day. Rainy weather caused for the cancellation of  the annual parade Saturday morning, as well as some of the events scheduled for the stage area.

Brad Corley, festival co-chairperson, said organizers have kept an eye on the weather forecast and are relieved the rain is expected to clear out.

“We have a few mud holes, but we’re upbeat,” Corley said.

Vendors were pleased with the crowds, which began to trickle in.

Mark Hanlon with the Port Arthur Sertoma food booth said they saw clusters of customers, mainly at lunch and dinnertime and many people ordered their food “to go.”

Dr. Kelly McConnell explained they had only sold 10 or 12 blooming onions by around 1 p.m. Saturday, when they normally would have sold about 40 by that time. The festival is one of the Sertoma group’s biggest fundraisers, and Hanlon and McConnell were hopeful that clearing skies would bring in more customers.

The group over at Fun Food Inc. was doing double duty of sorts — dishing out fried elephant ears and fried corn, as well as introducing themselves to the community. The owner, Victoria Varella, recently moved to Groves from California and is not new to the food business. She has taken part in food competitions and is preparing to open a business where she’ll sell her famous catfish and pasta and deliver in Groves.

The fried elephant ear is made of pastry dough with some butter and can either be sweet or savory. Varella adds powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate and some dots of jam.

“Texans know how to enjoy life,” Varella said. “There is a camaraderie of entrepreneurship here. People here are generous in spirit.”

The Texas Pecan Festival Treasure Hunt has officially ended.

The $400 grand prize in the Texas Pecan Festival Treasure Hunt has been found by Team Merdalgo, according to the Pecan Fest Facebook page.

The team, consisting of Josh Hidalgo, Britni Hildago, Chrissy Mercer and Justin Mercer found the prize at the Groves Swimming pool under the fencing in the No Parking area.


Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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